Loose Acoustic Trio
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Loose Acoustic Trio

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The Loose Acoustic Trio
Sorrow Be Gone
Big Book BBR 15 (2008)

There’s no artifice in the name or the music of The Loose Acoustic Trio. What you see is what you get: It’s loose - there’s almost a sense of barely controlled musical mayhem; it’s acoustic; and it’s a trio. Steve O’Neill supplies the rhythm on his standup bass, Ken Cooper provides guit-jo, bedpandolin, and vocals, and Richie Lawrence plays accordion and sings. The group bills its music as “good-time music,” and it certainly is. A mishmosh (in the best sense) of old-timey, bluegrass, Cajun, jug band, and any other genre you’d care to throw in, it could as easily be billed “kitchen sink” music. And it works brilliantly. Who’da thunk that “Pinball Wizard” could be given such a spin, and sound great? “Soup On A Bun” is a fast and furious (and slurpy!) tribute to pizza, and “One Man Band” paints a sonic picture of a busker “makin’ his music from head to toe.”

Lest you think it’s all fun and games, “Sorrow Be Gone” has political overtones about current events - the war, Hurricane Katrina, the plight of orphans - and incorporates a fervent wish that “I’ll be happy someday, love be here to stay.” The instrumental “Leaving You” is an accordion-led waltz that conjures images of vaqueros relaxing around a campfire, and it provides a pleasant, introspection change of pace. Guest musicians bring in a washboard, a tuba, a jug, and other instruments to vary the texture, including Joe Craven on fiddle on two cuts. From the early-morning strains of the first cut, “Rise And Shine,” to the otherworldly and dreamlike “Flying” that closes the disc (and includes an eerie musical saw), a day spent in the company with The Loose Acoustic Trio is guaranteed to be a good time.

Susan Hartman (Baltimore, MD)
Dirty Linen Magazine
#137 - August/September 2008 - Susan Hartman


The Loose Acoustic Trio
Sorrow Be Gone
Big Book 15

“Rise And Shine,” the album’s first track, opens with a couple bars of lively banjo picking, then in comes percussion, accordion and voices - a neat blend, in a bright, up-and-at-em and what-a-fine-day-to-do-it selection. That “wake up call” feeling extends throughout the Sorrow Be Gone album, as it did through their first album, Brand New Mind (2005). This banjo-accordion mix is difficult to imagine in the abstract. But the result is delightful: energetic, lively, and refreshing on a spirited album well worth getting.

The “wake up” aspect is not to say that The Loose Acoustic Trio sees life as simply as sweetness and light. Their musical world includes sadness, leaving home, and being away from those we love. But the emphasis is on answering our sorrows with down-to-earth joys like “Soup On A Bun,” “One Man band,” and, of course, love, as with “You Are The One” and “Me And You.” None of the songs come across as preachy, even those with a message: “Johnny Appleseed” and “We All Need More Kindness.” Lyrics are sometimes made more zany in their repetition (“Soup on a, soup on a, soup on a, soup on a, soup on a, soup on a bun,” etc.) but that is also part of the group’s distinctive flavor.

The Loose Acoustic Trio refers to itself as a “jug band,” a description not helpful in describing their actual music. Their drive and tightness variously brings to mind very good Zydeco or Cajun or bluegrass music; while they do play jug on one song, there is no traditional jug band “feel.” As for the claim in their band name, this neat acoustic trio (performing here with friends) may have started out loose, but none of that remains. (Bravo!)

Stephanie P. Ledgin
Sing Out! Magazine
Volume 52 Number 3 - Autumn 2008 - Stephanie P. Ledgin


"Not only were you beyond humanly entertaining, but you managed to educate in fine fashion as well. I received many compliments from students and teachers alike on not just your playing and singing, but your wit, originality and tremendous passion for music as well. Your music bridges gaps in age and culture and, I dare say, does a great service to the community. I look forward to hearing you perform again soon.”
Dr. Robert Mathews
Department of Music
Yuba College
Marysville, CA

"The Loose Acoustic Trio added a wonderful boost to the overall atmosphere of the Sacramento County Fair. Their professionalism and musical skills gave us the confidence to know we could count on them to entertain a wide variety of fair goers under any condition. Their willingness to blend when needed or show on the main stage makes them a terrific group to work with."
Francie Dillon
Talent Coordinator, Sacramento County Fair

"We really enjoyed having you guys out here. Your flexibility and ability to engage the fairgoer directly was very valuable. Thank you."
Kirk Glover
Entertainment Coordinator
California State Fair

"You guys have done a great job with this thing. The mix is fantastic, the songs are great. I can't believe I'm saying this about accordion, banjo, mandolin and knuckle-head harmonies, but it's really well done."
Billy Fields
National Sales Director
Warner Music Group

- from all over


Discography

Brand New Mind (2005, Big Book Records)
Sorrow Be Gone (2008, Big Book Records BBR 15)
Looser (2009, Big Book Records)

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Bio

The Loose Acoustic Trio is an American original. Since the turn of the 21st century, they have deftly blended Folk, Cajun, Old-Time Country, Blues, Jug Band, and Ragtime music to create an appealing sound they call “Good Time Music.” The lyrics of the songs range from simply sublime to sublimely ridiculous, each wrapped up in an infectious rhythm that’s guaranteed to make you smile. The combination of accordion, 6-string banjo, bedpandolin (a mandolin forged from a metal bedpan), upright string bass and three part vocal harmonies, sets them apart from any other musical group on the face of planet Earth. It’s a traditional roots style with a contemporary twist.